Len Goodman, the former judge on Dancing with the Stars and its British counterpart Strictly Come Dancing, has died of bone cancer at age of 78 year old, three days before his 79th birthday.
According to his agent Jackie Gill, Len Goodman gave up the ghost on Saturday peacefully and surrounded by family at a hospice in Dartford Kent, England. He is survived by his wife, son, and two grandchildren.
“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78. A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him,” Gill said in a statement.
“Len Goodman was a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions … and felt like a member of everyone’s family. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement.
Len Goodman – Brief Biography & History
Len Goodman’s career as a professional ballroom dancer took off when he first started dancing at the age of 19 years old. After he won the British Championships in the 1970s, he opened a dance school in his late 20s.
He then broke into television and international fame several decades later and proceeded to become the head judge on the BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” from its launch in 2004 until 2016, and on DWTS from 2005 until 2022; judging the British and American shows simultaneously, “crisscrossing the Atlantic weekly.
Goodman won the Carl Alan Award (the “Oscars of the dance world”) in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance and wrote several books, including his 2009 biography, Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom.
On November 2022, Len Goodman announced his retirement from DWTS, saying he wants to spend more time with his family and grandchildren back in Britain.
In an interview with People magazine, he said; “Doing a live show you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react. And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging. I haven’t fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it’s best to go before I start to do so!”
“I have had a wonderful run of good fortune and cannot thank everyone enough who assisted me along the way,” he added.
Leonard Gordon Goodman was born on 25 April 1944 and grew up with his grandfather who worked as a costermonger, selling fruit and vegetables. He attended Westwood Secondary Modern School, where he was a member of the cricket team.
Goodman first married his dancing partner, Cherry Kingston, in 1972 but after the couple divorced, he started a relationship with a woman named Lesley, and together, they had a son named James William Goodman, who was born on 26 January 1981.
12 years later, Goodman and Lesley would break up and Lesley would leave with their son, and on 30 December 2012, Goodman married his companion of more than ten years, Sue Barrett.
Goodman was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2009, for which he was treated at a London hospital. In 2020, he also underwent surgery for a small facial melanoma.